By Claudine Complativo
Photos by Demerie Dangla and Thomas Benjamin Roca, UP Aperture
Various groups and media organizations tagged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III as the “Impunity King” Tuesday in a press conference held at the College of Mass Communication (CMC) Press Freedom Hall.
Members of End Impunity Alliance, along with National Press Club’s Benny Antiporda, UP Muslim Students’ Association Neefa Macapado and former political prisoner Ericson Acosta also expressed their condemnation on what they called the “culture of impunity” in the Aquino administration.
“Ang konteksto po nito ay kawalan ng hustisya sa karumal-dumal na krimen na nangyari apat na taon na po ang nakalipas (It is in the context of the lack of justice for the crime which happened four years ago),” said CMC Associate Dean Danilo Arao.
On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 individuals, including 32 journalists and media workers, were killed in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. At present, no one has been convicted since the hearing began on Jan. 5, 2010.
Lawyer Harry Roque, chairman of the Center for International Law and legal counsel of the families of 17 victims of the massacre, said they will file a complaint at the United Nations Committee on Human Rights on Friday, Nov. 22, due to the lack of government action on the incident.
“Matapos ang apat na taon kung saan nagkaroon ng paglabag ng karapatang mabuhay ng kanilang mga kaanak, wala pa hong kahit na anong kompensasyon na naiibigay ang gobyerno (Four years after their family members’ right to life has been violated, the government still fails to give proper compensation),” he said.
Roque said they will also include in the complaint the issues in the use of Malampaya and pork barrel funds, which have recently been surrounded by controversies.
“[Ito ay] nagpapakita na hindi pala totoo ang sinabi ng presidente na walang pera ang ating gobyerno (This shows that the president’s claim that the government lacks funds is not true),” he said.
Aside from media killings and political prisoners, members of End Impunity Alliance also cited victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, Sendong, Pablo and the recent earthquake in Visayas as victims of the culture of impunity in the country.
“This is the kind of king that we have right now. This Pork Barrel King, this Disaster King, this Impunity King clearly has to go. He has to resign if he continues to perpetrate this kind of impunity,” said Karapatan’s Tinay Palabay.
The press briefing marked the start of the series of events to commemorate the fourth year of the Maguindanao Massacre.